THE VILLAGES — Mollie McCarthy hoped she’d get it, and she finally did.
Back in the 1970s, McCarthy went to Broadway to catch “A Chorus Line.”
“I saved my money to go to it,” she said. “I went, sat up in the balcony, fell in love, tears running down my face at the end of it. I said, ‘Please, some day let me do this.’”
After moving to The Villages, she learned that KC Productions was putting on the Broadway smash.
“I had to try out,” McCarthy said. “I am way out of my comfort zone, but I had to try out.”
Just like in the musical, she went to the audition, hoping that she’d get a part. And she did.
“I was shocked,” she said. “Totally shocked. I’m fulfilling a dream. This is a long-time dream of mine, back to the mid-’70s.”
This rendition of the singular sensation, directed by Joan Knapton and Jim Caisse, will appear at 7 p.m. Jan. 19-22 at Savannah Center.
Tickets for the show are $17.50 for residents and $22.50 for the public, and are available at any Villages Box Office location or online at thevillages.net/boxoffice.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Moffitt Cancer Center of The Villages.
McCarthy, a Village of Hemingway resident, landed the role of Valerie Clark, a very confident, edgy dancer who has a bit of a foul mouth.
“We had to clean up her language a little bit,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy had some acting experience in high school and college, but nothing in the musical realm.
“I’m singing for the first time ever in my life,” she said. “I think I’m getting better. My husband actually said it doesn’t hurt anymore. That’s good.
“(With theater) you get to be somebody else. For just an hour or two, you get to be someone else. It’s like a fantasy land.”
John Rogerson is stretching his acting abilities in a different direction with the role of the dancer Paul.
“He’s a closet gay, and he’s not proud of it,” Rogerson said. “One of the things that’s wonderful (about theater) is you can be something you’re not.”
Rogerson, who lives in the Village of Glenbrook, has had to adapt to singing and dancing in the musical.
“Singing I love, and dancing is fine,” he said. “Putting them together is a challenge.”
In the beginning of rehearsals, Rogerson was having doubts if the show was ever going to work.
“Now it’s all coming together,” he said. “It’s exciting to see it. We’re ironing out the problems.”
Dawn DiNome plays Diana Morales, whom she calls “a tough girl from the Bronx.”
“She’s not much of a girlie girl,” DiNome said. “She keeps everyone’s reality in check. When people lose their faith, she keeps them going.”
Originally, DiNome didn’t want to try out for Diana, instead aiming for Val or Sheila.
“I’m glad I got it,” she said. “She’s a lot like myself.”
DiNome, a Village of Mallory Square resident, had seen “A Chorus Line” both on Broadway and on the big screen.
“I love the stage version much better than the movie,” DiNome said. “It pulls on your heart strings. It makes you cry, even if you’re not an actor.”
While in college, DiNome started out as a business major, but she soon found herself in the theater department. She also had dancing experience from the time she was 4.
“I’m a singer who can move well,” she said, laughing.
Through the years, she had several gigs in New York City, but to help pay the bills, she worked as an assistant manager for a bar at an upscale restaurant.
“It’s a tough business,” DiNome said of her performing life.
After moving to The Villages, DiNome found herself singing for various groups, including the Vamps and the Music in Motion Dancers. She also sings at several Masses.
“I’ve been getting a lot more work (down here than up in New York),” DiNome said.
Caisse is wearing several hats for this production — he’s the co-director, producer, choreographer, and he plays Larry, the assistant choreographer to the director Zach (Ray Leggiero).
“When I’m doing the dance roles, I go from the director’s table and jump on stage,” Caisse said. “Then I come back up and take the role of director with Joan.”
Knapton and Caisse decided to go with “A Chorus Line” because of its long-standing run on Broadway, and its challenge.
“It has a very difficult combination of singing, dancing and acting,” Caisse said. “The singers have to dance and the dancers have to sing, and they all have to act at some point. In the show we call it the triple threat.”
The cast has been working on the show for about nine months.
“It’s been a long grind,” Caisse said. “(But) it’s been a true joy working with these people. They’ve worked extremely hard. They’ve put their hearts and souls into the show.”
One of the challenging aspects of the show for Caisse is trying to get the dancers at the same level.
“Some have had lots of training, others have had some, and others have had no training,” Caisse said.
“It’s been so rewarding,” McCarthy said. “Jim and Joanie are wonderful. The cast is wonderful. It’s not an easy production to put on. It’s taken everything you have.”
Caisse, who lives in the Village of Caroline, had seen “A Chorus Line” on Broadway on a couple of occasions back in 1975. He also choreographed the show for a group back in the 1980s.
“It’s just a show that anybody in theater would want to be in,” he said. “There are so many fantastic roles, it makes for a fantastic story.”
Michael Fortuna is a reporter with the Daily Sun. He can be reached at 753-1119, ext. 9234.